Sightseeing Bus

Sightseeing Bus License Application Checklist

Who Must Have a Sightseeing Bus License?

You must have a Sightseeing Bus license to drive a vehicle that carries eight or more paying passengers to places of interest or amusement or for a specific or special trip from a starting point within New York City.

This description is only a general explanation of who must have a Sightseeing Bus license.

Quick List of Requirements to Apply for a Sightseeing Bus License

See Requirements section for detailed descriptions. Make sure you provide all requirements; otherwise, your application is incomplete. DCA can only consider complete applications for license issuance.

  • Basic License Application
  • Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection
  • Department of Motor Vehicles Registrations
  • Rate Schedule
  • New York State Department of Transportation Inspection Certificate
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Engine Conformity Affirmation
  • Local Law 41: DEP Monthly Reporting Form
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
  • Inspection of Your Sightseeing Buses
  • License Fee
Submitting your application does not mean your license is automatically approved.

Additional City or State Permits/Licenses/Clearances You May Need

You must have a Sightseeing Guide license if you guide or direct people to any place or point of public interest.

This is not meant to be a complete list. See Additional Resources section.

Important Message about Business Certificate

You must have the applicable Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure. Although DCA does not require submission of your Business Certificate in order to process your application, DCA may request this document under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Sole proprietors operating under a name other than your own must have a Business/Assumed Name Certificate.

Partnerships must have a Partnership Certificate and, if applicable, an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.

Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Division of Corporations. You can check your status at www.dos.ny.gov/corps.

Requirements

DCA will deny your application if you do not submit these required documents and information:

  • Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection.
    Applicants must provide identifying information for each bus owned by the business on the Roster. DCA will inspect your open-air sightseeing buses to make sure they have a headphone-limited sound reproduction system.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles Registrations.
    Submit a copy of the current State Registration for each vehicle listed on the Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection.
  • Rate Schedule.
    Submit a Rate Schedule on your business letterhead listing all charges for sightseeing bus services. Note that rates not included on the schedule may not be charged at a future date. To change rates after filing this application, you must notify DCA in writing.
  • New York State Department of Transportation Inspection Certificate.
    Submit a copy of the Inspection Certificate issued by the New York State Department of Transportation for each bus listed on the Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection. Your bus(es) must pass a safety inspection before a license can be issued. You can contact the New York State Department of Transportation at (718) 482-4754 or www.nysdot.gov to arrange for the necessary inspection(s).
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation, if applicable.
    Required if someone other than the license applicant will prepare and submit this application. Note: The applicant must sign the license application and all related forms.
  • Inspection of Your Sightseeing Buses.
    DCA will contact you to schedule an appointment to inspect all sightseeing buses before your business can operate. Note: All sightseeing buses listed on your Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection must be present at the time of the inspection.
  • License Fee.
    License Period: 2 years. Expiration Date: March 31, Even Years. License Fee: $100 for 2 years

If You File Your Application Between These Dates: Option 1 Option 2
From April 1 in an even year to September 30 in an even year Pay $100 for a license expiring March 31 of the next even year. (Valid for at most 24 months.) N/A
From October 1 in an even year to March 31 in an odd year Pay $75 for a license expiring March 31 of the following year. (Valid for at most 18 months.) N/A
From April 1 in an odd year to September 30 in an odd year Pay $50 for a license expiring March 31 of the soonest even year. (Valid for at most 12 months.) N/A
From October 1 in an odd year to March 31 in an even year Pay $25 for a license expiring March 31 of the same even year. (Valid for at most 6 months.) Pay $125 for a license expiring March 31 of the next even year. (Valid for at most 30 months.)

Pay by:
  • Check or money order payable to DCA. (In person)

  • Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card only). You will be charged a nonrefundable Convenience Fee. (In person or online)

Application Filing Process

File in person
File in person at the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center.
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) LICENSING CENTER
42 Broadway, Lobby
New York, NY 10004
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
NYC SMALL BUSINESS
SUPPORT CENTER

90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Free Interpretation Services are available on-site. To request a disability-related accommodation, please call DCA’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at (212) 436-0155 or visit our Accommodations page.

OR

File Online
  1. Review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below to submit your application online using a laptop or desktop computer.
  2. If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
  3. After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
  4. Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCA License page to read requirements and proceed to the online application.
Apply Online

Additional Resources for Sightseeing Bus

  • For resources to help your business open, operate, and grow, visit nyc.gov/business
  • Once you receive your Sightseeing Bus license, you must have your bus(es) inspected every six months by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York State Department of Transportation. DCA will contact DEP to ensure your bus(es) passed inspections.
  • Licensed sightseeing buses must be inspected at least once every four months to make sure they have a headphone-limited sound reproduction system. DCA will contact you to schedule an appointment. If your bus does not have a headphone-limited sound reproduction system, your bus may be suspended until it has been equipped with the system.



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